Sunday, March 14, 2010
Because dynamite can't be used to demolish a building in New York City, the old Yankee Stadium, "the house that Babe Ruth built" is coming down slowly but surely. Despite the vaunted reputation of this baseball stadium it has already been replaced at a nearby location. Once the site has been cleared it will be home to several ball fields for community use, and walking paths.
I have no doubt purists have lamented the destruction of this iconic facility but tends to be the way for old buildings. The venerable Maple Leaf Gardens gave way to the Air Canada Centre and is now being converted into a multiple-use facility. The world will go on.
I wish we could take a similar approach with our church buildings. Not all of them, of course. Some are examples of exceptional architecture from a period and should be preserved. But many are fairly generic and meant to be utilitarian. They may be dedicated to the service of God, but when circumstances change then they can actually be a millstone around a struggling congregation's neck. There are congregations in Oshawa Presbytery that are in the process of disbanding and the properties will be sold. I wish that we could be farsighted enough to consider the amalgamations and re-configurations necessary to create vital congregations rather than waiting out a slow and often sad death.
How do you feel? Are you tied to particular bricks and mortar? Would you be comfortable worshipping in a space that didn't look like a traditional church? Do we need to be bold in initiating the necessary conversations between congregations?